People used to think of cosmetic dentistry only as the procedures to enhance the teeth. However, your smile includes the teeth in the foreground, the gum in the background, and the lips that frame it all. Therefore, modern cosmetic dentistry procedures now include enhancement of the teeth and gum through cosmetic dental procedures, and enhancement of the lips through facial esthetic procedures.
What treatments are involved in enhancing a smile
- Color enhancement with teeth whitening
- Restorative treatment such as veneers & crowns
- Cosmetic orthodontic treatment
- Cosmetic gum surgery
- Teeth replacement
- Facial esthetic treatment such as lip augmentation with fillers and Botox
Cosmetic dentistry can enhancement tooth color, shape, or size. This can be achieved by teeth whitening or porcelain restorations. Teeth whitening can be done at home with tray material or strips that gradually lighten the teeth over a period of seven to tent teeth. Teeth whitening can also be done at the office, which takes about an hour. In-office teeth whitening provides better results, especially when dark or uneven colors are involved. Dramatic color changes may require either veneers or crowns. Ceramic restorations mask dark teeth colors and can be fabricated to be very bright. Veneers only cover the front of the teeth while crowns encircle the teeth. New materials such as E-Max and Zirconia, can create very thin veneers with colors that are as bright as the patient desires. Veneers and crowns can also correct teeth size or form and can close gaps between teeth.
Crocked teeth can now be straightened in few months with modern orthodontic treatment. Advances in brackets and wire technology allow amazing results that can be achieved in as little as 6 months. Orthodontic treatment can be done by traditional braces or by removable aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontic treatment can level gum lines, correct protruded teeth, straighten crowded teeth or close gaps between teeth. It can also fix bite problems and improve lip support.
Cosmetic periodontal/gum surgery is an important part of cosmetic dentistry. The pink color of the gum forms the background of the smile. In addition to treating gum disease, gum surgery can correct short teeth to improve that proportions of teeth length to width. It can also level gum line to create a symmetric smile. Additionally, gum surgery is used for the treatment of gummy smile. A gummy smile shows excessive display of gum tissue when the patient smiles. A gummy smile can be corrected either by gum surgery, orthodontics, lip repositioning surgery, or Botox injections.
The lips and peri-oral areas play crucial roles in smile appearance. The lips frame the smile and enhance the entire picture. Lips that are disproportioned or asymmetric can be easily corrected with lip augmentation procedures. Lip augmentation is usually done with hyaluronic acid lip fillers. Lip fillers restore proper lip proportions, enlarge a thinning lip, and correct lip asymmetry. Fillers are also used to correct deep nasolabial folds and correct corners of the mouth. Additionally, thread lift is used to lift sagging peri-oral tissue and to give a more youthful look to the smile.